December 8, 2023

Researchers at Metropolis College of Hong Kong have developed an electrostatically charged face masks that may replenish its cost via the wearer’s respiration motion. The electrostatic cost helps the masks to adsorb tiny particles, akin to SARS-CoV-2 viruses. Nevertheless, such masks usually lose their cost and skill to bind particles over time, significantly in humid environments akin to proper in entrance of the mouth. To handle this, these researchers have created a masks with two triboelectric nylon material layers that replenish the cost because the layers transfer backwards and forwards throughout respiration. The masks can present safety in opposition to airborne viruses for for much longer than typical masks, enhancing the security of healthcare employees and decreasing waste.

The standard face masks has been a key part in our combat in opposition to COVID-19. For many of us, face masks had been a gentle inconvenience after we went to the shop, mid-pandemic, in an effort to scale back viral transmission in the neighborhood. Nevertheless, for healthcare employees caring for COVID-19 sufferers, efficient masks are essential for each private and affected person security.

An efficient mechanism that designers can deploy in face masks includes electrostatic adsorption, the place an electrostatic cost helps tiny particles to stay inside the masks, serving to to enrich the mechanical filtration that the masks present. Nevertheless, this electrostatic cost is depleted over time, significantly in humid situations, that are tough to keep away from in one thing you breath via. Because of this the masks might not be offering optimum safety for his or her complete period of damage and in addition that masks have to be exchanged ceaselessly, creating waste.  

This newest facemask expertise maintains its safety in opposition to viral particles by producing electrical cost from the motion of the breath. “Though many reviews work on replenishing the cost for long-lasting electrostatic adsorption efficacy, an additional energy supply is mostly wanted, which is cumbersome and inconvenient,” mentioned Yang Zhengbao, a researcher concerned within the research. “We have now developed an environment friendly, sturdy, low-cost air filter that may repeatedly replenish the electrostatic cost in a self-charging method.”       

The expertise depends on triboelectric nylon material layers that may create an electrical cost when moved. “As the center layer strikes forth and again between the lateral layers with respiration, a cost switch happens between PVDF and nylon as a consequence of their giant distinction in electron affinity, ensuing within the PVDF layer being negatively charged and the nylon layers positively charged,” mentioned Zhengbao. “This self-charging course of allows the continual replenishment of the electrostatic costs and extended electrostatic adsorption.”

Research in journal Nature Communications: Self-charging electrostatic face masks leveraging triboelectrification for prolonged air filtration

By way of: City University of Hong Kong